For the last few weeks, I have been feeling every one of my 50 years.

Motherhood, the job I know I am good at and the one I have always loved, has really been kicking my tail lately. It seems as if all three of my darlings are experiencing growing pains at the exact same time.

The fact that I am the primary parent, while my husband leaves the house for the office each day, means I am on the only one on the front lines dealing with every case of teen and tween angst that comes along. There is also the complexity of caring for my daughter, who has significant special needs.

I’m cooked. Burnt out. Exhausted and emotionally drained. I would get out the white flag of surrender, but I’m too tired to get it from the linen closet. I certainly don’t have the energy to wave it.

It’s times like these that I am oddly grateful that motherhood did not come easy to me. As I feel myself drawn into yet another argument about curfew times or whose fault it is that the living room is a disaster, I do my best to remember that there was a time when I would have given everything I owned to be in this position.

I had four miscarriages before our first child was born. Four.

The cushy life I had of only worrying about me, my job, my husband, and our cat felt so profoundly empty. I would do my best to enjoy all I had, but every time I saw a baby or a child with their mom, my heart would ache.

I would hear my friends complain about their kids, and it would take every ounce of me to stop myself from screaming, “You don’t know how lucky you are.”

There is something so empowering in remembering that I actively chose this life.

I might not have known or chosen that my daughter have more in common with a child of three or four then the girl of 14 that she is. But when I catch her in the bathroom, crumbling everyone’s deodorant and leaving a mess of biblical proportions, it does make it a little easier to laugh when she looks up at me and asks, “Mom do you still love me?”

I would rather not have to watch my 17-year-old son struggle with the same dyslexia that plagued me in school. But watching him makes strides some professionals thought he would never make does make the arguments over his choice of clothing or language a bit more manageable.

My soon-to-be 11-year-old youngest child is proving his talent of getting on my very last nerve as he grapples with the challenges of leaving grade school for the bigger world of middle school and all that will entail. But it’s hard not to be charmed when he says, “I look like a princess” in my new pink nightgown.

Yes, I have been feeling the pressures of raising three kids, trying to achieve some semblance of order in our house, and still make time to write. I have a very good case of the “stressed-out-mommy-blues.”

Thankfully, this experience, and an hour of having the house to myself, has taught me that it will pass.

There will be a day, sooner than I care to admit, when I will look back at these insane times as the good old days.

I know that. Today I just have to remind myself.

This post was originally featured on Kathy Radigans’s blog, My Dishwashers Possessed. Featured image via. 

I saw a wonderful new play last night, “A Sudden Spontaneous Event” at the Pure Theatre here in Charleston.

The play opens in Heaven’s waiting room, and without spoiling it, deals with forgiveness and what one big do-over would do if you got a second chance at life. It’s a beautiful play and as I walked home, I found myself wondering what my do-over would be.

Of course, there are regrets, large and small. Ugliness, pettiness, and betrayal. Things that would make me squirm if I were held accountable. Most, I discover, are based on fear: fear of being abandoned, fear of not having enough, fear of being hurt if I didn’t hurt first.

If had to choose, there’s one small act that stands out as the first soul-killer.

I was never a bully in middle school. I tried to be nice to everyone. For the most part, I felt like a junior anthropologist, observing from the outside what it took to be popular.

Kathy rode my bus to and from school and always sat alone. We talked every once in awhile. She always seemed a bit sad, a bit more outgoing than I was, but I never would think she had been bullied. Bullies were the playground “loudmouths” who pushed people.

Bit by bit, she confided her loneliness to me. “I was different,” she told me. I was kind.

Until the day someone did something to her. I don’t even remember what it was. I just remember she found me and collapsed into my arms in tears. Without thought, I wrapped my arms around her and looked over her shoulder. The commotion had brought the popular girls over. They were all staring at Kathy, but also at me.

I caught the eye of the most popular. And, over Kathy’s shoulder, I rolled my eyes and betrayed the sobbing girl in my arms with just that careless, thoughtless gesture.

Kathy never knew.

The popular girls opened their circle to me. Kathy gradually took the hint and stopped seeking me out. I ignored the puzzled, hurt looks she would occasionally throw my way on the bus.

There are worse things I have done in life. Hateful, angry things I wish I could take back. But none haunt me with the poignancy of that very first betrayal – the one that can still make me cringe when I remember. That would be my do-over.

This post was originally featured on Helen Mitternight’s blog, Stilettos Not Required. Featured image via

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So much of my days are spent going, going, going. I wake up, lace up my Nike’s and my day starts. Often times I don’t sit down until long after daycare kids have left, which makes it time to fire up the lap top and put some words on the blog. Many times my days end with a long list of things left undone and my house only marginally clean. Some days I feel like I’m on fire and could do a million more things. Other days I barely hold my head above water.

On the weekends we like to go, go, go outside of the house (one of the casualties of working from home). We love getting out and exploring, attending events around the city, trying out fab restaurants, and giving our reviews on the blog. This winter we made a family promise to relax more and spend less weekends running around like crazy. So that’s what we’ve done. More days around home playing games, making meals, taking on the little projects that are on the back-back-back burner of our lives.

I sleep in a little, take naps, watch a movie or two on Netflix, take a walk around the neighborhood. We enjoy our little family day and not a lot gets done. Yet, at the end of the day, as I tuck my minis into their beds in their still messy rooms that I didn’t make them clean, I feel happy, well rested, and guilt. Guilt???

Yes, guilt. That funny feeling that sneaks up the best of us for the silliest of reasons. As much as the day of relaxing and rest was rejuvenating, I feel guilty for all of the things I could have, possibly even should have, done. If I hadn’t decided to sleep in an extra hour in the morning proceeded by snuggling on the couch with the minis while we watched a movie, I could have gotten sooooo much done. The laundry would have actually gotten put away, bedrooms actually cleaned and not just half assed picked up, and my kitchen counters may actually be usable rather than remnants of breakfast on them.

This guilt that I feel is kind of like mom guilt, but more of a societal guilt. Society says the house should be cleaned, well organized, and decorated. I can easily say my house doesn’t attract mice and bugs but it’s not the cleanest house you’ll step foot in. My three kids take care of that with no problem. My house is far from organized. The boy’s room contains clothes that are a size too small for them. Going through their drawers and sorting the clothes into piles will take the better part of a day. It’s not high on my To Do List. My house is decorated. With toys. I could work on these things. Society says I should work on these things. And there’s where the guilt sets in. It’s something I should do, but not something I make a priority.

All of these little things aren’t a priority to the big things. I KNOW this. I believe this. Yet I still feel guilt. There’s nothing I dislike more than feeling guilty for something silly. I could make a plan to get things done next Sunday when we’ll likely have another relaxing day at home….but it’s my birthday. So I’ll just plan on the impending guilt that will hit Sunday night.

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, Kidsperts. Featured image via. 

Being a mom takes a lot of patience, and sometimes we do things that we aren’t proud of. 

In our defense, it’s impossible to keep it together 24/7! We aren’t robots, dammit – we’re just humans who happened to become responsible for other humans. Since we’re all about keeping it real here at WTF, we asked our Facebook friends what their darkest mom confession was. Here are the very relatable answers.

“I used to play hide and seek when they were little, but I didn’t ‘seek’ them..I hid in my bathroom eating chocolate or drinking wine…”

Sounds like the correct way to play hide and seek if you ask us.

“I let them set up a small camping tent in their playroom, then I played a continuous loop of thunderstorm sounds on the computer and told them they couldn’t come out until it was over, lol…that’s one of my especially proud moments.”

Pure genius!

“I set up the TV and DVR on Sunday mornings so that all my five year old has to do is turn them both on and I can stay in bed. He will even go get his three year old brother out of his room when he wakes up. Next stop, pre-poured cereal!!”

What a little self-starter he is!

“I tell my toddler that things will ‘bite her’ if they are dirty and/or I don’t want her to touch them. (Bottom of the broom, trash, mommy’s wine, etc).”

We’re only looking out for germs, right?

“After an hour of trying to get my 2 year old to eat dinner tonight, I gave up and gave him his fruit snacks. Mommy Fail.”

Hey, you do what ya gotta do.

“I pretend I’m sleeping so my husband has to take care of kids that wake up in the middle of the night.”

Works every time.

“I’m pretty sure I have a favorite.”

We won’t tell anyone!

“Other moms compliment me on how I take my son to so many programs and always seem to be on the go. What looks like an overly ambitious toddler agenda is really just the only way I’ve found to keep depression from devouring me.”

This is so real and so relatable. As moms, we’re expected to be cheery and bubbly all the time and it’s simply not the case.

“Blogs, books, magazines, the almighty internet and other moms/women. I REALLY GIVE ZERO F*CKS. From the moment I got that positive on my predictor I literally stopped giving sh*t. I did it my way and still doing it my way. To all moms out there: You’re doing it right . Raise your wine glasses to us and giving zero f*cks!!”

We give zero f*cks too!

“My kids thought the ice cream truck was just a truck that drove around playing music for people to enjoy. They even called it the music truck. Since they didn’t know it sold anything, they never really looked at it and never noticed the pictures of ice cream cones. We got away with that until my oldest could read.”

What they don’t know won’t hurt them!

“My kids share a piggy bank and the rule of the house is, whenever they find money or change, they can put it in their piggy bank. I needed to do laundry and was out of quarters so I dug through their piggy bank and grabbed some – my daughter saw me so I told her I would replace it that Friday. She asked me for like 2 weeks about those dang quarters so I finally told her I put them back lol. I haven’t yet…..”

When the laundry needs to get done, IT NEEDS TO GET DONE.

“My 6 Yr old only bathes once a week.”

We are all that 6 year old.

“I’ve taken money out of my kids piggy bank to get a latte I’m sure by now I’ve paid them back several times!”

Maybe the most relatable of them all – hell hath no fury like a mother without her caffeine.

 

Featured image via.

TMI WARNING! If you are a guy and are reading this, I implore you – STOP NOW!

If you insist on reading it, you may need to seek help to erase this knowledge from your brain. And I’m not paying for your therapy. Still reading?? Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! I’ll understand if you stop reading my blog. I wish you well…

Today I took my kids grocery shopping. I kinda had to – it was either that or leave them home and get arrested for child neglect. I bribed them (as I often do) by telling them they could buy something. Usually it’s chips or candy or whatever. Today they chose both. Figures.

I parked the minivan in the IGA parking lot in the usual area – the angled parking on the east side. I hopped out and let the kids out on the driver’s side. Our van is the type where both sides open, which is SO handy, I highly recommend that option if you have a choice! We skipped into the IGA – we all love going grocery shopping!

We walked out about half an hour later with 4 bags of groceries in hand (why do they give me a bag for my 4L milk jug?! If I had noticed them doing it I would’ve stopped them – it’s got it’s own handle, I don’t need a bag!!) The kids were goofing around as they often do, and the 5 year old ran down the sidewalk well past the van, with the 9 year old in hot pursuit. I yelled “STOP!” and my obedient little monkeys did just that, turned, and ran back to me. By now I had opened the passenger’s side sliding door, and waited for them to get in so I could close the door properly.

There was a blue, clear bag on the ground about a foot from the front tire, so I told the 9 year old as she ran up, “don’t step on that” because you just never know what’s in there. I could see something whitish and long, but whatever it was, I didn’t want them stepping on it. She hopped over it, and I watched her get in, and the 5 year old climbed in right after.

I slid the door closed and walked around the back of the car to open the driver’s side sliding door. I wanted to put the groceries in – I hadn’t put them in yet because I didn’t want the kids to have to step over them on their way in. The kids had already gone to the back of the van and were just doing up their seat belts. The 9 year old said, “It smells bad in here!” and I smirked. “Why? Who farted?” The 5 year old chimed in, “Yuck! It smells really bad in here!” and I said, “Oh, so YOU farted?” Both of them denied cutting the cheese.

What could have caused a stench? I had just put the groceries in, so it couldn’t have been something we just bought. Had some left over food rotted? Had something rolled out of a grocery bag and gotten trapped under a seat? I told them to smell the box of Timbits at the back of the van.

“Smells good,” was the consensus. Hmmmm. I shrugged and got in the van.

As we pulled out of the IGA parking lot, I yelled back, “What does it smell like?” and my 9 year old said “It smells like your butt!” and she added, “Not like a fart, but your actual butt.” Not to be left out, my 5 year old said, “Yeah, it smells like THAT!”

I scoffed. “When have YOU smelled MY butt?!”

The 9 year old said, “When I was little, I smelled it once or twice.”

Now, here’s the thing: my 5 year old is really into smells, and yes, he has actually smelled my butt. One hand on one cheek, one hand on the other cheek, nose right in the middle. Not in the anus – luckily that is well hidden – but in the plumber’s crack area. Not all kids do this – I don’t recall my 9 year old doing it – but some kids have no boundaries until they’re given them and will explore things that you don’t necessarily want them to explore.

After several swats on the probing proboscis and scoldings of the 2, 3, and 4 year old, I think he’s finally gotten past it (or else it smelled particularly bad one time and he got the hint!)

Great, I thought. One of us stepped in dog shit and now it’s in my van’s carpet. Good grief! It’s not bad enough that we have to clean the offending footwear, now I have to clean out my van! An inconvenience, to be sure, but not the end of the world. At least the weather will be nice for the cleaning, with 2 weeks of sunshine ahead!

So I just laughed and kept driving. I turned on the heat and I guess the air got pushed around and suddenly the stink hit my nose. I dry-heaved and my hand shot up to cover my nose. What the hell?!?! FISH!!! My mind raced… did somebody put a dead fish in my engine?? Did someone squirt fish juice into my vents? Who have I pissed off lately? Did I buy fish anytime in the past few days and it rolled out of the bag and under my seat?

Wait, I’ve got it!

It must have been FISH in that blue bag! It must’ve leaked and somebody stepped into the juice!

“Check your shoes!!!!” I yelled! That proved to be difficult when strapped in, so it would have to wait until we got home.

About a block from home, I was struck by the sad truth of the situation. I folded my arms on the top of the steering wheel, put my forehead on my arms, and shook. With laughter!

I was awash with embarrassment and shame and the irony of it all. I realized, to my horror, that what my kids referred to as my “butt” smell was actually the smell from my crotch! The proverbial female scent, the one none of us wants to acknowledge but we all are familiar with.

While this smell is usually faint, it can be enhanced by certain foods, or conditions like Bacterial Vaginosis. For me, this smell is unbearably strong only a few hours after I’ve eaten fish.

Undoubtedly, my little ones had stuck their noses in my butt during sushi nights!

Sushi – the gift that keeps on giving. Ugh!

GUEST BLOGGER: Anne Bruin

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Anne Bruin

Anne Bruin is a 49 year oldmother of a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old transgendered son. She lives in Vancouver, with her husband who owns his own business. They are on the poor side of life but always looking on the bright side!

This post was originally featured on Contests Vancouver. Featured image via

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My house is a mess; laundry is piled up, no one knows where the iron is, and dinner is never ready by five p.m., if we even have dinner.

I think June Cleaver is what many people expect stay home moms to be like. It’s not like that in my house. My pastimes don’t include needlepoint or arranging tea roses. We never use our dining room; I don’t dress to impress, and the only house help I do have is helpful in giving me more to clean.

For me, staying home is a constant and endless routine of keeping the house clean, dishes done, laundry done. As hard as I try to stay on the up and up, I have days where I slide. Slack. Am indifferent. On those days I’ve:

1. Started the washer and dryer over and over to avoid having to finish laundry.

It’s the ultimate in procrastination. My record is one full week of drying the same load of laundry. If those clothes are dry, I have to fold them and some days I just don’t want to. Eventually, all our laundry does get done. Usually, when the only thing left for anyone in my house to wear is a pair of Rainbow Dash panties and a single Tinkerbell sock. A green one.

2. Hidden in the closet and eaten candy, so I didn’t have to share.

I don’t mind sharing. I share with my kids all the time. But, sometimes I get a box of my favorite pecan buds from See’s Candies. And no one knows but me.

3. Thrown a lap changing pad over pee at two in the morning to avoid changing sheets.

Unless the bed is so wet, with urine, that you can find Moby Dick breaching through the sheets, lap changing pads work pretty nicely at two in the morning.

4. Let my kids wear two different shoes to the store because I didn’t want to find the other one.

Call me lazy. Call me irresponsible. Call me efficient with time. Whatever. The wonderful thing about toddlers is they love to be creative, and no one cares how their shoes look, including them.

5. Used the cat to wipe water spills off the floor.

A gentle nudge and rub with the foot is all it takes. We both get what we want. She gets a pet, and I get to cross something off my list and move on to the next thing.

6. Thrown toys away to avoid putting them away.

Most of these are usually toy parts that belong to other toys that have been missing since the turn of the century. For example, I have no desire to try and find the Polly Pocket, who’s left, yellow rain boot has been haunting my kitchen counter for six months. The last time I saw Polly Pocket was about a year ago in the sandbox. No one in my house seems to be missing her. Why should I?

7. Read through a book at lightning speed just so I could sit downstairs alone for ten extra minutes.

I will purposely choose to not read Horton Hears a Who at bedtime. Daytime, yes. Bedtime, no. It would take me less time to find Moby Dick in my child’s pee-soaked bed than finish either of these books in under a half hour. Because, you know, we look at the pictures too as we read. Sometimes, pictures make a fast story too. Just saying.

I’m sure some out there will say I’m a terrible mom for admitting any of this stuff. I’m also sure that there are a lot of moms out there who have done the same things. So, to all the like-minded moms who have found themselves in a state of simply not caring anymore, these confessions are for you.

So, go throw 60 more minutes on the dryer, grab yourself some candy, and hide in the closet. You’ll need that rest for tonight when the search for the Great White Whale is on.

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